Two Giants of Design

Ferrari, klemcoll, Colombo. Lampredi

It is August 1949 in Maranello. Most of Italy is on vacation, but not at Ferrari. Sitting here in the design office are the two most influential and talented designers of Ferrari’s early years: Aurelio Lampredi (left) and Gioacchino Colombo.

Colombo started at Alfa Romeo about a dozen years before the War and had a role assisting Vittorio Jano in the design of a number of Alfa Romeo engines in the 1930s, including the power plant of the famed Alfa Romeo 158 Grand Prix car. After the War years, now working for Enzo Ferrari in Modena, Colombo was convinced by Ferrari to design the early Ferrari V12 motor of 1.5 liters displacement for the initial Ferrari 125. This unique design was developed continuously well into the 1960s and became the heart of many Ferrari road and racing cars for much of that period. Colombo, never feeling secure at Ferrari, returned to Alfa Romeo in 1951 to update the 158 into the Championship-winning 159. Later in the 1950s he did important work at Maserati as well.

Lampredi also started early at Ferrari coming from an aircraft engine design background. He and Colombo were often in conflict as to who was the design head, a conflict no doubt incentivized by Enzo Ferrari who believed that the best results would be achieved by this type of fear and uncertainty of position. As a result both Colombo and Lampredi left at various junctures but would then return. Lampredi also designed a V-12 for Ferrari which became the Formula 1 motor for Ferrari for the 1951 season and was used primarily for large displacement applications. However, Lampredi is best known for his design of the four cylinder in line engines which would power Ferrari F2 cars in 1952-54 and  a successful series of sports cars thereafter. Lampredi also tried to expand this design to six cylinders for a new sports car 1955 and also as a two cylinder experimental F1 motor for short courses. The latter was totally unsuccessful, blowing up on the dyno due to strong uncorrected vibrations. Lampredi departed in 1955 for Fiat where he had a further successful career.

Photo by Archivio Corrado Millanta ©The Klemantaski Collection –

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